The Toxicity of Silence

So I’ll be honest

silence gives me too much time to myself…

where fear warms dried blood into ink
for a needle whose only job
is to tattoo painful words
directly on the surface of my heart

spiteful words manifest like beasts
clawing tirelessly up the walls of my throat
hungering to consume my feelings for you

because it’s so incredibly important to them
that I be reminded
that I never deserved you in the first place

You see, to be honest

I’m rarely ever honest

How could I be?

I’m perfect
you’ve told me yourself

and yet, while I give you all the things you say you need
the beast inside lectures me
to not be so sensitive
to not be so neeeeeddyy for your time
to not be bothered by your need for space
or the absence of your sweet reassuring words
that used to tuck me in to sleep

but, to be honest

your silence swells up inside of me like a cruel poison
until I’m left clenching teeth
like fists ready to strike at the next time
you forget to say good night

the pain oils my tongue
til my words are as sharp as broken glass
beautiful, but tempered with the fears and insecurities
that I need so I can drive you away before it’s too late

And so this poison escapes
in skillfully packaged words of affection
twisted masterfully into a chorus of praise and reassurance
so that you can convince yourself
that my pain
is your fault

because, to be honest

When I’m hurt
I’m dying for you to know

But I can’t…

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Published by John Onyx

A poet of the lost, the found, and the in-between. I’m interested in collaborating with photographers, musicians, and videographers on larger projects. Feel free to email me at if interested!

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